11 tips for small business owners from entrepreneurs.
Recently I have had 1-1 meetings with experts in their field, and attended the All Island Female Entrepreneur Conference, organised by Women in Business. It has been a week of learning and inspiration so I thought I would share it with you.
Here are my top 11 take-aways.
1) Add Value
This came up again and again- you have got to add value to your customers. If your social media posts and blogs are all sell, sell, sell, you will see your growth stagnate and your engagement plateau.
How do you add value? Share advice, tips, quotes related to your brand and what you stand for. Anything that helps or inspires your customers. This builds up a community and a relationship with your customers. They are more likely to share your posts which will improve your organic brand reach.
This is so important for small businesses where the owner is a big part of the brand. Caroline O’Neill (Digg Mama and Digg for success) says that adding value through your online content is THE way to connect with your audience and grow your brand.
2) Be Authentic
Authenticity is so important and people will see right through you if you are trying to be someone other than yourself.
Match what you say to who you are online- your online persona needs to be you, The real you.
Being authentic can also help you stand out in a crowded market. You can be your USP (unique selling point), no one else can be you!
3) Nurture your resilience
Resilience is a must have trait when you are running your own business. Alyson Hogg (Founder of Vita Liberata said: “If you can’t learn to relax, are talking on too much work, not getting enough sleep, that will puncture your resilience.”
Make time to recharge your batteries. Switch off when you can.
4) Define your brand- who are you?
You need to be able to define your brand so you can be consistent in everything you do, whether that is your personal brand or business brand – which for a lot of small businesses, blends into one.
Ask yourself these questions:
What do I want to be known for?
What are my values?
What do I want people to say about me when I’m not around?
Use this to create a set of values. Write these values down and refer to them regularly- maybe even put them on the wall to remind yourself of what you stand for.
Building your brand is time consuming and relentless, but necessary.
5) Perfect your elevator pitch
Can you describe your business and what you are about in 30-6o seconds? That’s your elevator pitch,
If you can’t, sit down and have a think about:
- Your values
- Your USP
- The problem you solve
- Your customers
- What you do best
Work that up into a pitch, practice it and learn it. Always be ready to share your pitch when you get the chance.
6) Be your own cheerleader
Three great quotes that really resonated with me, all from female entrepreneurs who have been successful through hard work, determination and good product: Dr Roisin Molloy, Alyson Hogg and Pamela Laird.
7) Social Media
It’s difficult to be everywhere when it comes to social media, especially if you are doing it on your own. Pick two channels and be very active on them.
Don’t apologise for being on your phone- you are working and your phone is your work. HOWEVER, do take time away from your phone especially when you are with friends and family.
8) Don’t forget PR
Social Media is so prevalent now that often businesses forget about PR- both digital and traditional. PR is a very important part of the mix when it comes to growing your brand.
PR can help build credibility and reach new audiences and is something you need to think about it you haven’t already.
This is something that SEO expert Gus Pelogia mentioned during my 1-1 ‘Friends of’ session this week. Digital PR is a great way to get those all important backlinks to improve your SEO. Have a press list ready of relevant publications for when you have content ready to share.
9) Networking, Events and learning from others
Go to seminars, listen to podcasts, and don’t be shy about messaging someone on social media to ask how they made that cool video! Learn from others and be open to sharing what you’ve learned.
Attend networking events in person and virtually. Connect with the people you meet and follow up afterwards. Face to Face meeting is still one of the best way to generate business.
We were talking specifically about Facebook Ads. There are so many choices- your advert goal, the audience to use, the budget, video or image, placement. You’ve just got to try different things then use the analytics to see what works, make adjustments and try again.
If you aren’t looking at your analytics, you need to start!
11) Declutter your business life
Mary Portas had some great advice in this area. Do you NEED to go to that meeting? Can you delegate or outsource? What do you absolutely have to be involved with.
If you have a team, delegate. If you work on your own, is it time to outsource? Yes, it will cost you money, but will free up more time for you to grow your business.